Quality Matters in Early Childhood Education and Care: United Kingdom (England) 2012

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Early childhood education and care (ECEC) can bring a wide range of benefits – for children, parents and society at large. However, these benefits are conditional on “quality”. Expanding access to services without attention to quality will not deliver good outcomes for children or long-term productivity benefits for society.

This series of country reports focuses on quality issues. Each report tackles a specific theme that was selected by the country reviewed. These reports suggest strengths and point to areas for further reflection on current policy initiatives.


Where does the United Kingdom (England) stand regarding policy

England performs above the OECD average on most ECEC outcome indicators but underperforms on others. On participation, England has a relatively large share of children attending some form of ECEC. On child outcome indicators, England performs well in reading and science. Possible policy changes from an international comparative perspective include improving maternal labour market participation of mothers with young children and improving students’ performance on PISA mathematics.

On policy input indicators, England performs below average on possibilities for paid paternity leave and the quality indicator “staff-child ratio” in child care. However, England has above-average public expenditure levels on young children and family benefits and maternity leave entitlements. England could consider improving possibilities for parental leave for fathers and implementing better staff-child ratios.


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